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Home away from home

Home Away From Home

December 2, 2014

Upon entering a massive cathedral, we feel small and insignificant. The quiet atmosphere of a library can make us feel calm and studious. The sensory overload of color, light, and noise in a discount super-store is instantaneous. The environments we find ourselves in have a profound effect on our behavior and mood. As Jim Greenman wrote, “Spaces do more than speak—they load our bodies and minds with sensory information.”

When children enter your center, how do they feel? Do they feel secure and welcomed? For children and their families to feel drawn in, your setting must be as homelike as possible.

Making the environment child-friendly takes imagination and creativity. Consider how to make the room peaceful. Bring nature in. Fabric adds a lovely touch. Pillows and rugs can be added for softness. Rearrange the furniture to create safe, cozy nooks for quiet times. Color, texture, and lighting are also important. Are there enough elements that remind a child of their home and particular culture?

In their article, Homelike Environments, Roberta Bergman and Sue Gainer offer practical and simple guidelines for creating a “home away from home.” Read the article.